Muncy man escapes fire just in time

MUNCY When his house on East Water Street caught fire late Sunday afternoon, Todd Long had no time to save anything.

He just bolted out the front door to a neighbor’s place to get help. He could not even save his two beloved dogs.

“When I opened my bedroom door, the couch and drapes were on fire,” said Long, whose first-floor bedroom was just off the living room. He had smelled smoke moments earlier.

“I didn’t have time to grab anything. I got burned heading out the front door,” said Long, who lived with his two daughters, Jade, 18, who just graduated from Muncy Junior-Senior High School, and Demsey, 16, a junior. “Thank God my kids weren’t home,” said Long, an employee at Muncy Homes Inc. on Route 442. He declined treatment for his burns.

One of the first firefighters to arrive on the scene at 170 E. Water St. about 3:55 p.m. was Muncy Area Deputy Fire Chief James Michael, who was met with a ball of flames engulfing the front of the house.

In addition to Muncy Area, firefighters from Hughesville, Picture Rocks and Montoursville responded on the initial alarm.

Michael immediately ordered a second alarm, bringing additional manpower and equipment from Pennsdale, Clinton Township and Montgomery.

Thick smoke covered much of Water Street and was visible to hundreds of motorists traveling on Interstate 180.

Heat from the fire was so intense that it melted the siding of a neighbor’s home.

East Water Street was closed from Washington Street to Muncy Valley Hospital for more than two hours as firefighters battled the flames.

Long, who did not have any renter’s insurance, said he believed that most of the fire originated around an air conditioning unit in a window that was on the west side of the home, which is owned by his father, Dwight, of Green Street.

The local chapter of the American Red Cross was providing emergency assistance to the displaced family of three.

Michael said there was nothing considered suspicious about the fire, and that a state police fire marshal was expected to visit the scene Tuesday and attempt to determine the origin and cause of the blaze.

The home was a total loss, Michael said, adding that damage was in excess of $100,000.